Tag: slow travel

Summertime Off-Gassing

Here in our house, the last day of school was exciting of course. We were all thrilled to be finished up with ridiculously early alarm clocks and lunches and homework and all the other stuff that accompanies a school year. It’s fine for a while, but by the time you reach the end, it is a veritable drag to the finish. Tupperware starts cracking, notebooks begin unraveling, and even our psyches hit the breaking point. I’m never sure whether we reach that point because we know we’re near the end, or whether we’re near the end because we’re reaching that point.

Here in our house the last day of school was absolutely crazy too. Tempers were flaring. Little infractions were seen as major affronts. Siblings were at each other. People were even making declarations of not wanting to go to Grandma’s together! Which if you knew the glory of Grandma’s, you’d understand the magnitude of such a statement. And my behavior was really no better. And I thought to myself, “oh man, there’s something wrong with us.” Seriously.

My friend Carrie, she who is witness to a lot of my parenting,  called it off-gassing, which by definition is the emission of especially noxious gasses. That description gave me great comfort.  And with that in mind I entered back into the fray.

When I shared  the story of our awful last day with a mama-of-3 friend of mine,  she grabbed my shoulder and exalted,  “US TOO! ME TOO! AWFUL! FIGHTING! CRAZY!!” And she too thought, “wow there must be something wrong with my little family as a unit and surely they’ll never rise out of this yucky, sibling fighting-filled state.

The next day things were a little better. Flare ups yes but not like that crazy last day where all seemed completely hopeless.

And I realized that transition from full on school to full on at home is a biggie. And that giant school’s-out-for-summer exhale is not to be taken lightly. And with each extra person in the house, that exhale will be even bigger still because each one bounces off all the others, around and around and around, until it finds a safe place to land.

So I gave myself a break. And I told my friend Kami that I would share this because we both thought others might want to know that this behavior isn’t indicative of something being wrong with your kids or your parenting or your family as a whole, rather just a little school’s-out-off-gassing. Which is normal. And can be remedied by some downtime, a few trips to the library, and soaks in some cool, clear water.

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Slow Life

Things in our house have been a little bit nuttier than usual as of late. There have been applications to process for both middle school and high school. There’s after school stuff going on for the two in school. I’ve been working downtown, we’ve had out of town guests and my nephew has been living with us for the past few months. It’s felt fun but also like a lot.

Ordinarily I bike to work and am able to get downtown in a matter of minutes. I love being able to scoot down there so easily on my bike. No parking issues to deal with, no traffic and I get some fresh air too. For the past few weeks however even the biking has felt a little rushed. So I had to find a way to slow it down a bit.

Enter, the slow commute. As introduced by a co-worker.

And I love it! It takes me about 35-40 minutes tops at a rather pedestrian pace. I get to walk across the river and I can pause to check out the birds or boats or other on-the-water action. I walk past lots of cool little shops and get to peek in at the window displays which are fun to peruse. As I get downtown I get to enjoy the urban hike and have even gotten to “know” a few regulars on my path. Our hellos have become more familiar just in the few weeks I’ve been doing this and even the faceless homeless have gained a face because I see them longer and more often.

I love the way my mind wanders when I walk. I love the extra time I get to think about life, love, family and the pursuit of happiness.  And I love the way I feel when I get to the office where I’ll spend a good portion of the day in front of the computer. I feel fresh, strong and happier. Truly happier. And when I walk back home at day’s end, I get to carry that happiness into the house with me where it is really quite imperative at that time of day.

I have to allow a little more time on the days I do my slow commute. But really only 20 or so minutes more. I get home 20 minutes later too. But the way I feel during my walk and the way I feel when I get to my destination is nothing short of amazing.

If you can possibly fit it in here or there,even if you can’t really walk to work because of proximity restraints, even once a week or so, I highly recommend it. Walk at lunch. Walk around the parking lot before you get in your car. Walk around the halls of your office. Whatever it is, just slow it down at some point during the day and make the process of walking the total mission. Nothing else.

I think you’ll be amazed at what you realize about this life of ours. And the ideas that might pop into your mind.

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